Sunday, January 27, 2013

Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace, signed first edition

I recently reviewed David Foster Wallace's posthumous collection of essays Both Flesh and Not for, which will likely be published there in the next week or so. The book had me very conflicted, as it contained examples of everything there is to love about DFW alongside some of the author's most frustrating, disappointing works. While I wouldn't call Both Flesh and Not a failure by any means, it certainly has its share of mis-steps--ones that I attribute to the posthumous nature of the book and the lack of authorial input.

Consider the Lobster is the last collection of essays published during Wallace's lifetime and it excels in many of the ways that Both Flesh and Not does not: Lobster feels purposeful and curated, which are surprisingly important traits for collected writings.

I found this signed copy of Consider the Lobster in Manhattan's Housing Works Bookstore around 2007 or 2008--I believe he came by to do a reading or a signing, and this was surplus stock after the event. I unfortunately didn't get a chance to meet the man, but I was able to pick this up for around $20.00. It's not in the best condition (some shelf wear and rubbing to the jacket) but overall a very good copy with a tight, straight binding. 

A first edition, with a full number line (and some bleeding ink coming through the back of the title page):

Currently reading:
Revenge by Yoko Ogawa

Currently listening to:
My dog's heavy, sleepy breathing

Monday, January 21, 2013

Nemo! a screenplay by Ray Bradbury

Happy 2013! I'm looking forward to a new year of entries at The Oxen of the Sun, and I very much appreciate you dropping by the site.

I'm excited to have finally received my copy of Nemo!, a strange little screenplay by Ray Bradbury based on Winsor McCay's Little Nemo comics. For those who don't know Little Nemo, I highly recommend checking the comics out: Winsor McCay began Nemo in 1905, and made these gorgeous full-page comics about a boy who gets whisked off to adventure in Slumberland every time he falls asleep. The comics are nothing short of magical, and all end with Nemo awake, in a tangle of sheets, wondering if it was all a dream:

Subterranean Press, a publisher that typically does hard sci-fi and fantasy, announced Ray Bradbury's Nemo! screenplay almost a year ago. Subterranean has built a reputation on their multiple editions--they'll often print a limited edition trade hardcover for something like $40, and then a signed, numbered edition (bound a little differently, more expensive) and perhaps even a lettered run at some gloriously high price point that comes in some custom built box (or something). When Nemo! was announced, I quickly shot over to their site, only to find that the signed copies had all be quickly snatched up. But I did put a pre-order in for the trade, and almost a year later, it finally arrived. Limited to 1,000 copies, it's a striking little hardcover, bound in purple cloth, with a great cover by Charles Vess (who had previously worked with Neil Gaiman on Stardust). I haven't had a chance to dig into Nemo! yet but from a quick skim I can tell I'll enjoy it:

Subterranean Press is definitely worth keeping an eye on, even if you're not an especially big fan of fantasy fiction. While they do a lot of Game of Thrones-ish tomes that you might not be that into, they'll sneak out some gorgeous limited editions by some big names: there's a $450 (and up) signed, limited edition of The Shining coming out soon, and pre-orders begin this Wednesday...

Currently reading:
Tenth of December by George Saunders

Currently listening to: